~ Epilogue ~
Forgotten thoughts of yesterdays
Through my eyes I see the past
Puddle of Mudd - Drift and Die
July 21st, 2007, Singer Salvage Yard
The evening was warm. Flies were buzzing around and the smell of oil, grease and well-done steaks hung in the air, creating the feeling of home and family. He could almost hear Sam's complaints that he wanted salad instead of greasy meat. That he didn't want to train because he still had that essay to write. That he was sick of having to hunt. Dean snickered into the bottle of beer on his lips as he remembered that particular day almost nine years ago and his smile expired slowly, turning into a sad frown.
He couldn't hear Sam's complaints now. What he could hear was Bobby's throaty laughter and Sam's bursts of giggles as he played chess the older hunter in the dining room and kicking his ass in the process. A lightness that had nothing to do with the delicious beer in his hands made his stomach do flipflops. Like a whole swarm of butterflies was playing Quidditch in there.
The familiar sound receded into the background as he let his mind wander, enjoying the rare moment of peace before he'd have to take off again earlier than anticipated, probably still before the weekend was over. The evil didn't make holidays after all. As much as Dean wished, he would never get the apple pie life and the Sunday picnics that other families had. It didn't mean that Matt couldn't.
Matt, for once, who was as much Sam as he could without being him. There were differences between the Sam in Dean's memory and the one in the present. Most of them were good... like the way Matt laughed as if he had no worry in the world. It was amazing how fast the kid had bounced back after killing Azazel. It was as if nothing has happened. Or, as Dee had explained to Dean, as if Matt knew exactly what happened but had the admirable ability to take it as it is. Just accept it without much question. It was what differentiated the little boy from Dean's Sam, the old one. An unexpected wisdom that usually came with a long and rough life style but with the advantage of having the carelessness of a childhood that had been denied to his old self.
Sometimes, Dean still wondered how much Matt was in this boy or if maybe there was no Matt at all and had never been. This new Sam was probably just another version of his old Sam. A purged one. One who had known it all and now was merely living what destiny had in mind for him, no pun intended.
Nevertheless Dean recognized Sam as who he was. When he looked him in the eyes there was that wondrous little boy back from 1991 who adored his big brother and wanted to be just like him. There were these small gestures that Matt did automatically. Like making a big step over every threshold to protect the salt lines. Like biting his lip when he concentrated or pleading with these damn puppy dog eyes.
From the distance he could hear the sound of a motor running and leaned a bit forward to look around the tower of wrecked car to look at the oncoming vehicle, a small Toyota covered with dust from the street. Dee winked out of the driver window as she recognized Dean, a bulky package in her hand. Slowly, the car came to a halt directly in front of the entrance even before Dee had left the car Dean could hear trampling little feet running through Bobby's kitchen and seconds later flying out of the door. Matt almost bumped against Dean before making a small step to the side and jumping over all three steps to the ground. With open arms Matt greeted his mother, bouncing up and down on the soles of his feet as he tried fishing for the package in Dee's hand.
"Please, mom. I need to have it!"
Dee laughed, then gave him a kiss on the forehead and gave him the package which Matt ripped open with much enthusiasm to reveal a book.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Matt was staring at the picture in the front, a big smile plastered on his face as if he was just given his own freaking pony.
"Thank you, mom!" He beamed with joy whereas Dean managed not to cringe at the word "mom". His met Dee's eyes and for a second there was something like discomfort in it. Something, that Dean had gotten used to over the last month and a half. He felt like a father in the middle of a fight for child custody. Problem was, he had no legal rights. None at all. It pained him beyond anything to know Sam was not "his" Sam anymore. That there were rules he had to follow if he wanted to spend time with his brother. The fact, that it would have been an easy thing for Dee to just take Sam and leave was more than he could bear so he pushed the thought away and greeted her with a nod of his head.
Her serious expression changed into an understanding smile and she watched with delight as Sam sat down next to Dean on the topmost step of the stair, dismissing the paper wrapping with a wave of his hand.
"Do you want me to read it with you?" Dee asked and walked to the car to get some bags of grocery for their dinner.
Next to Dean, Sam bit his lip and started to chew. A clear sign that there was something on his mind.
"What is it, kiddo?" Dean asked, strictly avoiding calling the boy Sam when his mother was around. That would've been way too awkward.
"We could read it together?" his mother proposed at the worried expression in her son's face.
"But..." Sam began, then looked at his mother, his back straightening and his head held high. "I want to read it with my brother."
Dean hadn't even realized he had held his breath as Dee stared at him, her lips twitching with words on her tongue that wouldn't come. Finally, she nodded and Dean knew she complied. Maybe she wasn't happy with it. Maybe she didn't understand. But Dean knew she'd deal with it because they were family now. Maybe not by blood but by Sam.
"Cool!" Sam squealed and jumped up with energy only eight year old could muster. Trying to hide his amused expression Dean lowered his head, acting as if there was something immensely interesting on his shoes while Sam's footsteps grew fainter.
Rubbing his right hand on his neck, Dean kept staring down but it was clear Dee wasn't quite finished. Sighing, she put the bags on the ground and sat down on the place that Sam had occupied seconds before.
"Will you be leaving soon?" She asked, sounding almost regretful.
"I don't know. Tomorrow. The day after that at the latest. Chupacabras in Virginia." He felt like he had to explain himself but she just nodded.
"When will you be back?"
"Not sure. In a week. Maybe two."
"You know this is no life for... Sam." She emphasized his name and Dean knew she was right.
"This is no life for anyone," he confirmed and rubbed his hand over his chin. He avoided looking at her. Was afraid of what he would be seeing.
"I want you to know," she began and cleared her throat, "that your brother will be here when you come back." He finally looked at her and she smiled warmly. "I promise."
Maybe, it was all he could hope for in the moment.
Maybe, it was all he wanted to hope for in the moment.
Either way, it was a nice beginning.